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Sunday Quote

This tag is associated with 97 posts

Sunday Quote!- Why invite sinners?

Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Why Invite Sinners?

Origen is one of the greatest thinkers in the history of Christianity. In one of his works, Contra Celsum (available in an excellent Kindle edition of his works), he replies to the skeptic, Celsus, who charged Christians with effectively dismissing sin and inviting the unrighteous into Christianity instead of the righteous. Origen replied in Book III, Chapter LXI:

Not to participate in mysteries, then, and to fellowship in the wisdom hidden in a mystery, which God ordained before the world to the glory of His saints, do we invite the wicked, and the thief, and the housebreaker, and the prisoner, and the committer of sacrilege, and the plunderer of the dead, and all those others whom Celsus may enumerate in his exaggerating style, but such as these we invite to be healed.

Origen’s point is that Christianity is a religion that does call sinners of all varieties, but it does not call them to a kind of “free pass”- it calls them to the healing that can only be had through the washing by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Links

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On Christian Music– I wrote a post about the label “Christian music” and how that can lead to a number of difficulties with discernment.

Christian Discernment Regarding Music: A Reflection and Response– I reflect in depth on how we can use our discernment properly when it comes to music.

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

SDG.

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Sunday Quote!- “Gospel” Rap? “Christian” Music?

unashamed-lecraeEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

“Gospel” Rap? “Christian” Music?

I just started reading popular hip-hop star Lecrae’s biography, Unashamed. What makes Lecrae notable is the combination of his success in the music industry, specifically through rap/hip-hop, along with his unwavering commitment to his faith in Jesus Christ.

Lecrae notes one of the difficulties with labeling music as “Christian” music:

Being an outspoken Christian in the music industry means always feeling out of place…
This is one of the reasons I don’t fully embrace the “Christian rapper” label. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of being a Christian. I’m not… But labeling the music that way creates hurdles and is loaded down with baggage. Plus, it isn’t a true expression of the music I’m making. I try to produce music that is life-giving and inspires people to hope… I want to address themes that people who aren’t Christian can appreciate. (6-7, cited below)

He tells a few stories about how this label has actually hindered the impact his music can have on the world. Is it possible that by using the label “Christian music” we may be doing more harm than good? How might Christians make music that speaks to a world thirsting for truth?

Lecrae’s autobiography has already forced me to think deeply about a number of issues. Unashamed is recommended reading, though I note I haven’t finished it yet.

Source

Lecrae Moore with Jonathan Merritt, Unashamed (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2016).

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

On Christian Music– I wrote a post about the label “Christian music” and how that can lead to a number of difficulties with discernment.

Christian Discernment Regarding Music: A Reflection and Response– I reflect in depth on how we can use our discernment properly when it comes to music.

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Sunday Quote!- Explanation as a Zero-Sum Game?

gc-poedavisEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Explanation as a Zero-Sum Game?

God and the Cosmos by Harry Lee Poe and Jimmy H. Davis offers a deep look at the problem of divine activity in a created world. The authors explore the question from a number of perspectives, providing much insight into an intriguing question. One aspect they address is the notion that explanation is a kind of zero-sum game:

To those who hold the view of scientific naturalism, our explanations of natural events are a zero-sum game. To them a 100 percent natural explanation means a 0 percent divine involvement. (17, cited below)

Thus, the authors argue that many who hold to a non-theistic worldview allege that explanation is a numbers game. If one can fully explain a phenomenon through natural means, that must mean that theism has nothing to say about it. Intriguingly, though the authors don’t note this, a similar view is espoused by many Christians who tacitly grant this premise, arguing against natural explanations due to a fear of deism or other non-Christian beliefs. Yet when we look at the statement on its face, it seems absurd. We know explanations are not zero-sum. My belief that it is raining might lead me to bring an umbrella with when I go outside, but one might also be able to construct a series of physical explanations of the same event (i.e. describe all the neurons fired, muscles moved, etc.).

God and the Cosmos is the kind of book that keeps readers thinking well after reading the content. I’m still working through it, but so far I recommend it. As an interesting aside, Harry Lee Poe is related to Edgar Allan Poe (yes, that one), and also wrote a fascinating book on his relation: “Evermore: Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Source

Harry Lee Poe and Jimmy H. Davis, God and the Cosmos (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2012).

SDG.

 

Sunday Quote!- You are a Theologian

ft-whiteEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

You Are a Theologian

I just finished reading The Forgotten Trinity by James White. I found it to have a lot of good insight into the basics of Trinitarian doctrine. One line struck me as he emphasized the need for Christians to learn doctrine:

If you are a Christian, you are a theologian. You have no choice. Theology is simply knowing about God. (34, cited below)

The logical question we should ask ourselves following this is: “Am I a good theologian?” I don’t mean we all need to be skilled or know all of theology (an impossibility). What I mean–and what White is getting at–is that we need to ensure that we are believing and teaching rightly when we proclaim our faith. And, make no mistake, we are called to proclaim that faith (1 Peter 3:15-16, for example).

The Forgotten Trinity is a helpful read for those wanting to explore the basics of Trinitarian doctrine.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Bonhoeffer’s Troubling Theology?- A response to an article on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theological perspectives– I have argued elsewhere that the broad evangelical understanding of Bonhoeffer may, indeed, be a misunderstanding of the fact that he is Lutheran.

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Source

James White, The Forgotten Trinity (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1998).

SDG.

Sunday Quote: Dietrich Bonhoeffer as Lutheran

dietrich_bonhoefferEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer as Lutheran

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the most engaging characters of the 20th century as well as an immensely important and popular theologian. As time goes on, more and more people know who he is and acknowledge his influence on their work and lives. I have noticed, however, a strange lack of awareness or acknowledgement of Bonhoeffer’s Lutheranism. That is, many take what he says about discipleship, ecclesiology, prayer, and the like to heart, but divorce those ideas from their Lutheran context in his thought. Yet, for Bonhoeffer, his Lutheran theology was central to his understanding of Christianity. He wrote in The Cost of Discipleship:

How then do we come to participate in the Body of Christ, who did all this for us? It is certain that there can be no fellowship or communion with him except through his Body, baptism and the Lord’s Supper… The sacraments begin and end in the Body of Christ, and it is only the presence of that Body which makes them what they are. The word of preaching is insufficient to make us members of Christ’s body; the sacraments also have to be added. Baptism incorporates us into the unity of the Body of Christ, and the Lord’s Supper fosters and sustains our fellowship and communion… in that Body. (239, cited below)

These words can be found echoed in Bonhoeffer’s writings. His understanding of the universe was a Lutheran understanding, one which teaches Word and Sacrament. To do justice to his legacy, we need to acknowledge the fact that he isn’t just some theologian we can pull individual ideas from; instead, we must see him as Lutheran.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Bonhoeffer’s Troubling Theology?- A response to an article on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theological perspectives– I have argued elsewhere that the broad evangelical understanding of Bonhoeffer may, indeed, be a misunderstanding of the fact that he is Lutheran.

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Source

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1995).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- Reading the Old Testament as Christian Scripture

jd-earlEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Reading the Old Testament as Christian Scripture

Douglas S. Earl’s The Joshua Delusion is an attempt to approach the Old Testament in such a way as to understand it as Christian Scripture. For Earl, what this means is reading Scripture in a way that reflects Christian teaching in the New Testament. Moreover, it may mean that we need not read the Bible the same way contemporaries read it. One of the criteria Earl suggests is the notion of “fittingness” in our reading of Scripture:

[F]or a Christian reader of a biblical text ‘fittingness’ is a criterion for interpretation that relates both to what the text was originally trying to achieve, and to how it is received and used in the canon of Scripture, and subsequently in the Christian tradition. (103, cited below)

Thus, the original intent is set alongside a canonical perspective of reading the Bible, and ultimately set against Christian reading of the Bible. This has wide-ranging implications for how Earl suggests we read the Old Testament, including, often, undermining the historicity of the text in favor of a more allegorical reading.

The Joshua Delusion is a challenging read in many ways. Ultimately, I think Earl takes his position too far–to the point that it becomes difficult to see exactly how interpretation ought to be done. Moreover, his thesis allows Christians to effectively dismiss the original intent and meaning of the text. Is that a truly plausible way to read the Bible? It seems to me that if a view entails the rejection of how a text may have originally been intended, that means that we have lost a deeply important aspect of interpretation. Of course, Earl anticipates this objection and responds to it, thus leading to an engaging book. Interested readers ought to check the book out.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Source

Douglas S. Earl,  The Joshua Delusion (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2010).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- The Flame of the LORD

foyh-davidsonEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

The Flame of the LORD

Too often, we are afraid to talk about the love of God in any but the most circumspect way. Richard Davidson, in his  massive study on sexuality in the Old Testament, Flame of Yahweh, does a magnificent job discussing this topic with clarity and poetry. The Song of Songs (or Solomon) is at the center of his discussion. He writes that human love is the…

very flame of Yahweh, then this human love at its best—as described in the [Song of Songs]—points beyond itself to the Lord of Love. The human ‘spark of the Eternal Flame’ reveals the character of that divine flame… ‘Christians can discern the eternal dance… of divine Persons in the reciprocal love of a man and a woman.’ [citing Robin Payne.]…

[H]uman sexual love, already so highly esteemed elsewhere in Scripture, is here given its highest acclamation. The song of Songs thus becomes the… supreme statement on the theology of sexuality… in the OT. We have indeed reached the holy of holies, ablaze with the flame of Yahweh. (630-632, cited below)

Within this book of Scripture, the Song of Songs, we find the fullest expression of human sexuality and wholeness. It is filled with doctrinal content, and Davidson fantastically draws out the implications of the book for readers. Moreover, the entire work is a survey of and commentary on every major (and minor) passage that deals with sexuality throughout the entire Old Testament. I very highly recommend his book, Flame of Yahweh to you.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Source

Richard M. Davidson, Flame of Yahweh (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- King David and Christian Living

king-david-nathanEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

King David and Christian Living

J.J. Blunt (1794-1855) was an Anglican who lectured and wrote much of import for Christians. His most famous and impactful book was his Undesigned Coincidences in which he argues for the veracity of the Old and New Testaments. The scope of this book was not limited to apologetics, however. He continually put forward insights into the topics at hand. For example, writing about King David’s fall into sin and the betrayal by his son, he notes:

Meanwhile, by means of the fall of David, however it may have caused some to blaspheme, God may have also provided in his mercy, that many since David should stand upright; the frailty of one may have prevented the miscarriage of thousands; saints, with his example before their eyes, may have learned to walk humbly, and so to walk surely, when they might otherwise have presumed and perished; and sinners, even [those] of the darkest and most deadly sins, may have been saved from utter desperation and self-abandonment, by remembering David in all his trouble; and that, deep as he was in guilt, he was not so deep but that his bitter cries for mercy, under the remorse and anguish of his spirit, could even yet pierce the ear of an offended God, and move him to put away his sin. (155, cited below)

The concern with Christian living here is appropriate. Balance must be had between finding out what a biblical narrative “really” means [to the original audience? to us? etc.] and the application of that narrative to our lives. Here, Blunt is focused on application, but he does so in a way that is of value to apologetics as well as biblical interpretation. We sometimes wonder why so many stories of people doing bad things are recorded in the Bible. Indeed, some of these stories would be very R-rated were they made into a movie. But this is because the Bible is about real people engaged in real events. And, we can be sure that at least some of these stories can serve as a warning to us.

Blunt didn’t only offer law here, however. It’s not just a word of conviction. He noted the fact that David still turned to God and that God was merciful. May we also be moved to seek out God’s mercy through life’s trials.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Source

J.J. Blunt, Undesigned Coincidences in the Writings both of the Old and New Testaments: An Argument of their Veracity (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855).

SDG.

Sunday Quote!- The Faith of Infants- Hermann Sasse

treasury-dailyprayer

Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

The Faith of Infants – Hermann Sasse

One aspect of Lutheran theology that is often misunderstood is the notion of infant faith. It goes hand in hand with the Lutheran teaching of baptismal regeneration. Yet, time and again I have seen the accusation leveled at Lutherans that we somehow believe that faith is not required for salvation, because we believe infants are saved. Lutheran theology, however, teaches instead that infants do have faith. A brief quote from Hermann Sasse makes this more explicit:

[I]t is not merely avowed liturgical conservatism or even thoughtlessness when the Church for nearly two thousand years has thus baptized infantas as though they were adults, as though they could already confess with the outh and believe with the heart. This is not the ‘as though’ of mere fiction… God views us in Baptism as people who have already died and been raised… Thus he already views us as such who already believe, the poorest, weakest little child which we bring to Holy Baptism. (1197, cited below)

Sasse’s point here is that God views us eschatologically–as though we have faith, because that faith is the gift of God. Lutherans do not believe in salvation without faith; instead, a consistent application of the notion that faith is from God means God can impart that faith to whomever God chooses–whether one is elderly or newborn.

Source

Herman Sasse, quoted in Treasury of Daily Prayer (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2008). Quoting from Herman Sasse, “Circular Letter 4 to Westphalian Pastors,” in The Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters, translated by Matthew C. Harrison et al., vol. 2 (CPH, 2002).

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for discussions about all kinds of topics including science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

SDG.

Sunday Quote: Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Anthropomorphism and God

dietrich_bonhoefferEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Anthropomorphism and God

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian who was murdered by the Nazis. Many people don’t delve too deeply into his theology, but I have found reading his broader works to be quite rewarding. Here’s a passage from his Creation and Fall:

God… receives a very specific proper name, Yahweh… One could suppose that such a proper name is evidence of a very primitive idea of God… yet just at this point one must reply that anthropomorphism in thinking of God… is no more irrelevant… than is the abstract use of the generic term ‘deity.’ On the contrary, clear anthropomorphism much more plainly expresses the fact that we cannot think of ‘God as such’ whether in one way or another. The abstract concept of God, precisely because it seeks not to be anthropomorphic, is in actual fact much more so than is childlike anthropomorphism. (74-75, sections 69-70, cited below)

Here, then, Bonhoeffer’s point is that merely abstracting the concept of God and speaking of God “as such” actually does just as much damage to our understanding of God as does “clear anthropomorphism.” That is, when we make God into a kind of philosophical construct, we are just as far away from the relational, radically personal God of the Bible as if we were to be anthropomorphic in a childlike way. For, as he points out in the last sentence above, we put God into our categories rather than the categories of Scripture.

I think Bonhoeffer has a good point here, one that warns people like me who are philosophically minded to remember that our God is an active God. Although it seems clear Bonhoeffer would not deny something like saying God is omnipotent, what he is denying is that we can use those categories to reach “God as such” and fit God into them alone. God–Yahweh–is much more than that, and we need to remember that.

What do you think? Can anthropomorphism be a helpful way to understand God? What dangers, if any, might come from making an abstract concept of deity?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

Source

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall Douglas Stephen Bax, Translator (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2004).

SDG.

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